(Remnant) - The first testimony should, in itself, suffice to do this, as it is the testimony of a Sovereign Pontiff, Pope Paul VI. In his General Audience of 12 January 1966, he explained:THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: So what does this mean? In short, it means what many of my regular readers have known all along, but most of the English-speaking Catholic world is completely oblivious to (so far). The Second Vatican Council was pastoral in nature. It gave us nothing new. Rather, it simply summarized and standardized what the bishops of the worldwide Catholic Church had been teaching for decades. The objective of the council was to help bring the whole church up to speed as to how the unchanged doctrines of the Church apply to the modern world, and to help get all the bishops on the same page as to how to prepare for the modern world. In effect, it did not change anything. No teaching was changed. No practice was abolished. Nothing changed! The Church that emerged from Vatican II was the exact same Church that existed before Vatican II.In view of the pastoral nature of the Council, it avoided any extraordinary statements of dogmas endowed with the note of infallibility, but it still provided its teaching with the authority of the Ordinary Magisterium which must be accepted with docility according to the mind of the Council concerning the nature and aims of each document.What could be more clear? Pope Paul states unequivocally that the documents of Vatican II do not pertain to the Extraordinary Magisterium, and that they are not endowed with the note of infallibility...
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The central issue of controversy among Catholics today is not Vatican II. Rather it involves two things...
- The way some liberal clergy and laity have chosen to interpret Vatican II outside of the context of historic Church tradition.
- The Novus Ordo mass that was introduced in 1970, along with the poor vernacular translations, and liturgical innovations surrounding it.
In other words, Vatican II isn't the problem. The problem is the way Vatican II was interpreted and the introduction of the new ordinary for the mass.
Now to be sure, it was within Pope Paul VI's jurisdiction to introduce a new ordinary for the mass. We can debate about whether or not this should have been done. That however, does not change the fact that the pope had the authority to do it, and still has the authority to do it. (The current pope, Benedict XVI, is working on ways to reform the Novus Ordo so as to make it closer resemble the old Tridentine mass in form and style.) Pope Paul VI's introduction of the new ordinary of the mass in 1970 was probably premature. Most of us can agree on this. The world was not ready for it, and as Pope Benedict XVI is demonstrating by his actions, the new liturgy still had many bugs to fix. The premature introduction of the new liturgy led to hasty vernacular translations, particularly in English, which are still undergoing significant revision and reform. By introducing the new ordinary the way he did, Pope Paul VI unwittingly relegated the old Latin (Tridentine) form of the liturgy to a virtually outlawed status. He also failed to stress effectively (as Vatican II maintained) that the primary language of the Church was still Latin, and that the faithful should regularly be refreshed by the Latin form of the Novus Ordo liturgy. Sadly none of that was done, and as a result it only added fuel to those who sought to interpret Vatican II outside of historic Church tradition. As a result the following 38 years were marked by unorthodox teachings and liturgical innovations.
Naturally, with such widespread mishandling, it wasn't long before rebels began to surface on both sides of the Catholic spectrum. Among the innovators liturgical abuse erupted along with unorthodox teachings, coupled with mismanagement of seminaries and diocese, finally resulting in the sex-abuse cover-up scandal of 2002. Among the traditionalists an outright rejection of Vatican II occurred, coupled with a refusal to adopt the Novus Ordo liturgy, resulting in the unofficial schism of some organizations, along with the excommunication of some bishops.
So where do we go from here?
- We recognize that in spite of Pope Paul VI's premature introduction of the Novus Ordo liturgy, (currently called the "Ordinary Form" of the mass), it was certainly within his power to do this.
- We must support Pope Benedict's reform of the Novus Ordo liturgy, as well as his reintroduction of the old Tridentine liturgy as something available for all clergy and laity.
- We recognize and agree with Pope Paul VI's assessment of the Second Vatican Council, that even though it was a true ecumenical council, it intentionally made no infallible statements. The council was 100% pastoral in nature, designed to help standardized those things already taught by the Church.
- Finally, we must revisit the customs, traditions and standard teachings of the pre-conciliar Church, so as to give us the proper context in which to interpret Vatican II.